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Smith Haut Lafitte 2005

Grape VarietyCabernet Sauvignon/Merlot

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Tasting Notes

It was the Smith Haut Lafitte 2005 Pessac-Léognan that flirted with perfection. What a great wine that is, and it seemed to be drinking surprisingly well from that great but relatively tannic vintage.

Robert Parker, Hedonists Gazette, February 2017

This sensational, opaque blue/purple-colored wine from Smith Haut Lafitte has a gorgeous floral nose with notes of graphite, blueberries, blackberries, and cassis that jump from the glass of this inky, very dense, yet strikingly pure wine. Light on its feet despite its stunning concentration and multi-layered mouthfeel, this wine has fabulous intensity, richness and length. Quite impressive, and still incredibly youthful, this is a superstar of the vintage, and capable of lasting another 25-30 years. Drink 2015-2045.

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (219), June 2015

One can’t say enough about the accomplishments the Cathiards have achieved at this property since 1990. Prior to their purchase of the property, appallingly diluted, vegetal, fruitless, charmless wines were produced, but they have turned Smith-Haut-Lafitte into a showcase Pessac-Leognan. The inky/blue/purple-tinged 2005's extraordinary nose reeks of charcoal, incense, scorched earth, abundant blackberry, blueberry, and cherry fruit, toast, and spice. Good acidity, huge but sweet tannin, and fabulous precision as well as definition characterize this full-bodied, super-concentrated effort. It should prove to be among the longest-lived wines yet made by the Cathiards. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2030+.

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (176), April 2008

This is another uncompromisingly made, gorgeous effort from Smith-Haut-Lafitte, a property that has done everything right since the new owners took over in 1990. The 2005's dense blue/purple color is accompanied by aromas of lead pencil shavings, espresso roast, blue and black fruits, and violets. Rich and dense with good acidity, high but sweet tannin, and an underlying minerality that is a characteristic of a top Graves, this beauty will require 5-7 years of cellaring, and should keep for three decades or more.

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (170), April 2007

I know it sounds like a broken record, but this may be the best Smith-Haut-Lafitte ever made. A prodigious effort, the 2005 boasts an inky/blue/purple color, sweet aromas of graphite, white chocolate, espresso, and blue, red, and black fruits, extraordinary density, moderately high tannin, medium body, fabulous layers, and an enticing texture. However, it comes across as delicate and fresh because of its acidity. This ageworthy Graves should last for 25-30+ years.

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (164), April 2006
Read more tasting notes...

The Château Smith Haut Lafitte 2005 has quite a reserved bouquet, not the usual exuberant SHL-self, but it is very well defined and focused with that killer line of graphite lending it a Pauillac-like allure. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin and poise. This is a sophisticated Pessac-Leognan with real drive and penetration, a long-term wine that is reserved now but will certainly be motoring nicely along with another 5 years in bottle. Drink 2018 - 2040

Neal Martin, RobertParker.com, February 2015
James Suckling, WineSpectator.com, February 2008

A wine with a blackberry and smoky wood. Full bodied, with velvety tannins and a long finish. Delicious already. Could be the best ever. Balanced and long. Gorgeous. Almost classic quality.

James Suckling, WineSpectator.com, March 2006

Tasted blind. Dark crimson. Biscuity, agreeable rather than super-classy nose. Sweet and fresh. Hint of chocolate. Already quite evolved. No one could object to this but it would not thrill anyone that much. Hint of cinders on the end.
Drink 2014-2026

Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, March 2017

Dark crimson. High toned and spicy. Lots tucked in there for the future. Masses of tannin promises well for the future but it's all a little embryonic for now. Even slightly medicinal. Definitely not for now. Sweeter and spicier than the Domaine de Chevalier tasted alongside. 13.5%
Drink 2018-2040

Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, February 2015

Toasty mature nose with completeness. Flattering but a bit forward.

Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, February 2009

Very lively nose with lots of richness underneath. Fine sandy tannins. Very zesty with some quite obvious sweetness. Lots of punch. Drink 2016-26

Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, April 2006

Good fresh red-ruby color. Reticent but pure aromas of plum, mocha and tobacco. This began sweet and dense but a bit sullen, then exploded with aeration to show sharply delineated flavors of plum, tobacco, hot stones and smoked meat. Wonderfully fat and full wine that spreads out on the back to saturate the entire palate. This makes the '07 seem peppery and high-pitched in comparison. Very long on the aftertaste. I asked technical director Teitgen to name his favorite recent vintages in Pessac-Leognan, and he listed 1998, 2001 and 2005.

Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, June 2008

Rich and modern with unctuous dark fruit and integrated mocha notes. Palate full and generous with firm, ripe tannins that build and lift. Warm, round texture and finish. Drink 2013-2025.

James Lawther MW, Decanter Magazine, April 2006
Please note that these tasting notes/scores are not intended to be exhaustive and in some cases they may not be the most recently published figures. However, we always do our best to add latest scores and reviews when these come to our attention. We advise customers who wish to purchase wines based simply on critical reviews to carry out further research into the latest reports.